In new research published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Kinshuk Jerath, Liye Ma and Young-Hoon Park used a dataset obtained from a search engine to analyze over 1.5 million user searches for more than a hundred keywords and paint a picture of user click patterns on search engines.

They found that, at the aggregate level, consumers’ click activity is quite low, often clicking only one link after a keyword search. Furthermore, click activity is concentrated on the organic list, which accounts for 95 percent of clicks, rather than the list of sponsored results.

Interestingly, however, there is significant variation in these metrics across keywords, driven by different underlying compositions of consumers searching different keywords. Specifically, the popularity of a keyword, i.e., how often it is searched relative to other keywords, is an important indicator of consumers’ clicking tendencies – the less popular a keyword is, the more a consumer clicks after searching it and the more likely those clicks are on sponsored links. This indicates that, as compared to more-popular keywords, less-popular keywords are searched by consumers who expend more effort in their search for information and are closer to a purchase, which makes them more targetable for sponsored search advertising.

These findings have implications for resource allocation for search-engine advertising. For instance, since lower-popularity keywords obtain a larger proportion of clicks on sponsored links than higher-popularity keywords, firms could get more efficiency from sponsored search advertising on lower-popularity keywords and from search engine optimization on higher-popularity keywords.

Claire’s, the tween accessories chain best known for its glittery barrettes, plans to open in-store shops at 12 Toys “R” Us (TRU) stores in the U.S. by the end of the year, reports Retailwire’s Tom Ryan. The Claire’s-branded shops have...